September 23, 2013 8:15AM
Pittsburg State University celebrated the completion of the renovation of Dellinger Residence Hall with a dedication ceremony and open house on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott welcomed officials and visitors, some, he noted, were residents of the hall during their college days. Those former residents included Pittsburg Mayor Michael Gray and retired Pittsburg Teacher David Newcomb.
Following a brief ceremony that included a historical reflection on the building’s namesake by Randy Roberts, interim dean of library sciences and university archivist, student resident assistants led tours of the building.
The Dellinger Hall renovation is the largest piece of a multi-year residence hall improvement plan at PSU. Previously, the university completed renovations of Bowen, Tanner, Trout and Trout Annex. After Dellinger Hall, the only residence halls still to be renovated are Nation and Mitchell Annex.
Dellinger Hall is larger than any of the residence halls previously renovated and the scope of the project was more extensive. Workers replaced finishes in student rooms, corridors, lounges and stairs. They renovated and expanded bathrooms, and added a new lounge, office and laundry. The renovation included new mechanical systems and switchgear, new windows and a sprinkler system.
The cost of the project was just under $5 million and is being paid for by bonds. The construction manager is J.E. Dunn.
Dellinger Hall was built in 1966 at a cost of $1.5 million. It was named in honor of Oris Polk Dellinger, former head of the Biology Department and dean of the college and graduate school. Roberts called Dellinger the “forgotten president” because of the important role he played in leading the university upon the death of President William Brandenburg.
Early in the university’s history, Dellinger played a key role in the university’s struggle to separate itself from the State Normal School in Emporia. The Kansas Board of Regents offered Dellinger the presidency of the Manual Training Normal School in Hays if he would abandon Principal R.S. Russ in the highly politicized battle for independence, but he declined.
Roberts said Dellinger was the first member of the faculty with a Ph.D. and many graduates of the school were admitted to prestigious universities on his recommendation. Dellinger served PSU, known in the early years as the State Manual Normal Training School, from 1909 until 1947. After his retirement from the university, he served several terms in the Kansas Senate. Dellinger died in 1957.